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Coronavirus impact: India's Silicon Valley placed under lockdown for a week

Tech firms ask staff to work from home as Google techie tests positive; DoT relaxes norms for BPMs

Samreen Ahmad & Neha Alawadhi  |  Bengaluru/New Delhi 

Google
After a Google techie in Bengaluru tested positive on Thursday, the US-headquartered company closed its office in the city for a day.

The of India has been put under a lockdown for a week to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Most of Bengaluru’s top tech are asking employees to work from home. The state government ordered that all malls, cinema halls and populated areas in the city be shut beginning Saturday.

After a Google techie in Bengaluru tested positive on Thursday, the US-headquartered company closed its office in the city for a day. It asked all employees to work offsite as a precautionary measure.

“We can confirm that an employee from our Bengaluru office has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The employee was in one of our Bengaluru offices for a few hours before developing symptoms. The employee has been on quarantine since then. We have asked colleagues, who were in close contact with the employee, to quarantine themselves and monitor their health,” said the company in a statement.

But Google staff in Gurugram said it was business as usual for them. However, visitors were not allowed for any of the employees, and usual measures of sanitisation were being followed for keeping Googlers as safe as possible.

Dell and Mindtree in Bengaluru had earlier said their employee had tested positive. RMZ Infinity, which houses the Google office, wore a deserted look as most of the 10,000-odd employees working out of the tech park chose to work from home.

“All other offices in the premises have been apprised of the situation and necessary safety measures such as fumigation and sanitisation of the premises have been taken up to help them in the best way possible,” said RMZ Corp.

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E-commerce giant Amazon, earlier on Friday, issued an advisory to all its employees to work from home till March end in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The company, in an email, asked its employees globally to work from home.

Worldwide, has reported three positive coronavirus cases, one in Seattle and two in Italy.

Earlier, the company had also announced that employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine will receive up to two weeks of pay. “This additional pay, while away from work, is to ensure employees have the time they need to return to good health without the worry of lost pay,” said in a blogpost. While most of Uber India employees have been working from home for the past one week, the company came up with an advisory for staff to work remotely till April 6.

Microsoft has started work-from-home for most employees even before the coronavirus outbreak, and most personnel are utilising that option even now. Similarly for Facebook, there is a voluntary work from home option for most employees.

According to sources, Bytedance, the parent company of short video messaging app TikTok, has also asked all its employees to work from home.


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Flipkart, too, has piloted a work from home for three days for its 10,000 employees working out of its Bellandur office in Bengaluru. The Walmart-owned company has made it compulsory for its employees who operate out of its corporate headquarters in the city to work from home, starting Wednesday, for three days.

Brokerage start-up Zerodha has also announced work from home for its entire team of 1,200 employees to reduce the chance of any spreading of the virus. Several others such as Swiggy, Ola, BYJU’s and Udaan are also strongly recommending work from home.

Meanwhile, software services body National Association of Software and Services (Nasscom) got a long-awaited nod from the department of telecommunications (DoT) to allow work from home to employees of business process management (BPM) firms until April 30.

First Published: Sat, March 14 2020. 02:07 IST
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